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Nathan, Engineer
Category: Printers
Satisfied Customers: 25927
Experience:  Computer networking/repair. 12+ years experience.
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I have an HP Photosmart C410 printer. I have new ink

Customer Question

I have an HP Photosmart C410 printer. I have new ink cartridges in, but can't get the colors to print, only the black. I haven't used the color print for quite a long time. I've run the clean print head feature several times and this doesn't fix the problem. Wondering if the color print heads are clogged and if there's some way to clean the print head manually.
JA: Can you guesstimate how old your HP is? And just to clarify, what's the exact model?
Customer: Purchased in 2011. Model C410a
JA: What kind of computer are you printing from (Mac or PC)? What Operating System (OS) are you running?
Customer: Mac. OS X 10.9.5
JA: How long has this been an issue? What happened right before this popped up?
Customer: It's been an issue for at least 9 months. I have another HP color printer so have been postponing dealing with the issue on the Photosmart printer but I really do need to fix it. Can't remember anything particular happening before this occurred; just started not printing colors, first the cyan.
JA: Anything else you want the printer expert to know before I connect you?
Customer: No. thanks.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Printers
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

Hi, I'm Nathan.
Sorry to hear that you're having trouble with this but I'll do my best to help you.

Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

These symptoms point to either a clogged/contaminated print head, or a faulty print head (or the logic board that controls it).

You can try again going into the setup/maintenance menu on the machine and running the “clean print head” function repeatedly, up to 5 times total, testing after each.

If it still doesn’t print anything, you’ll need to do a manual cleaning as a next step.

I have to caution you up front though that the manual cleaning process is messy and time consuming. It also has a low chance of success, if you see no improvement at all from the automated cleaning. It is most likely a hardware failure (bad head) which the cleaning can’t fix, as printheads are a wear item and do fail with time/use.

Realistically, it’s probably time for a new printer. As this is a 2011 model printer, it is well past its 3 year service life, so this type of failure is not surprising. While it can be fixed, it is not worthwhile to do so. You would have to, at a minimum, replace the printhead, which costs about $85; if the logic board is bad you’re looking at $200-250. For $80-100 you can replace the entire machine with a brand new model, with current technology and a fresh warranty, which makes more sense than buying the new part for an older printer.

That said, it doesn’t hurt to try, if you wish. Let me know how the built in cleaning function works, and I’ll guide you through the manual steps next, or I can recommend replacement options if you prefer.

Best regards, ***** ***** for the news,


Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I will try the clean head function again, but I should also add that I'm getting an error message on the printer that it can't connect to my wireless, although the wireless modem/router is functioning perfectly well, and I'm still able to print B/W from my Mac. Is this maybe another indicator that it's time for a new printer???
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

It is an unrelated issue to the ink, but yes still another sign of internal failures.

It won't hurt to try the cleaning, but I would probably not bother with it past the automated function.

If looking for a replacement, I’d recommend any of the Epson workforce series printers. They tend to be very reliable, are easy to set up and use, have good print quality, and reasonably priced ink. Example: or

Note that these, like all consumer grade inkjet printers, are designed to be low cost and are essentially disposable after a few years, subsidized by the high cost of ink cartridges. If you wish to have a better quality and longer lasting printer, that comes with years worth of ink up front, consider the Epson ecotank models instead:

Alternately, for a more business/commercial grade product that will be rated for a 5 year life, consider a laser printer. Lasers cost more up front also, but a toner cartridge can last for thousands of pages. A black only all in one laser is around $125:

while a color model is about twice that:

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks, Nathan. I will seriously consider replacing this printer and appreciate the Epson recommendations. I've always heard good things about Epson printers. I will say, however, that I have an old HP Deskjet 5940 that's a wonderful workhorse, no problems. Maybe HP quality has deteriorated? Just wondering. And the multiple print-head cleaning is not fixing the problem.I would like you to manually guide me through the print head cleaning.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Nathan - on second thought, I will skip the manual cleaning. I've never liked this printer much anyway so you've given me a good excuse to get a new one! Thanks again, and goodbye.
Expert:  Nathan replied 11 months ago.

Sorry I missed your earlier message, was just grabbing a bite to eat.

I'm still happy to guide you through if you'd like but you are right quality on HP has gone down a lot over the years and that is why I don't expect it to help.

If you have any other questions, just let me know. Otherwise, please take a moment to rate my service as this is the only way I am credited for my time. Hopefully I have earned 5 Stars but if not please let me know what I can do to ensure you are satisfied. I also invite you to contact me directly with any future support needs at and ask for Nathan.

Thank you, ***** ***** a nice day,